Made in China

The Chinese F-10 fighter, which bears a strong resemblance to the USAF F-16 and especially the abandoned Israeli “Lavi” fighter of the 1980s, is apparently a better machine than the Pentagon first suspected. In its annual report to Congress on China’s military power, released last week, the Defense Department said the F-10 is “similar in weight and performance to the Eurofighter Typhoon or Dassault Rafale.” Those fighters have long been considered the No. 2 and No. 3 fighters in the world after the Air Force’s own F-22, but earlier Pentagon annual reports on China pegged the F-10 as equivalent to the F-16A. The Pentagon said the Defense Intelligence Agency anticipates that China will build “1,200 aircraft over the life of the program,” and that the F-10A and “Super-10” are now in development, featuring “improved weapons, engines and radars.”